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  • Writer's pictureAustin Coutinho

What’s in your Kitbag? Cricket Essentials for Aspiring Players

Discover the must-have cricket essentials for aspiring players to pack in their kitbags. From high-quality bats to protective gear, we explore the modern cricketer's must-haves. Prepare yourself for success with expert advice on shoes, gloves, helmets, and more. Don't forget to stock up on personal care items for a comfortable and confident performance on the field.

Many moons ago, when I was a pro cricketer, my kitbag was a humble collection of essentials: whites, cricket shoes, socks, sweater, and a towel. Borrowing equipment from the communal stash was common practice if I needed to bat.

I am told that the great former India skipper, Pataudi (Jr) would carry stuff in his kitbag that was similar to mine. When going in to bat, he would pick up any bat that he saw in the dressing room and score runs.

The legendary England batter of the 1950s, Denis Compton’s car once broke down on the way to Manchester, on the morning of a Test match against South Africa. He was brought to Old Trafford, in a tiny plane, by a friend. He had to bail-out his kitbag, save for a pair of cricket shoes. Compton, the genius that he was, scored 155 and 79 not out in that match, borrowing an old bat from Fred Titmus.

But cricket has evolved since those days, and players now embrace professionalism and possessiveness about their equipment. As an aspiring cricketer, it's vital to be mindful of what you carry in your kitbag. So, let's peep into the players' dressing room and explore the world of a modern-day cricketer's essentials.

1. The Bat: Cricketers worth their salt carry at least one high-quality bat to every match. Some specialist batters even carry two or three, carefully selecting bats that feel like an extension of their arms. Don't forget extra bat grips and fiberglass repair tapes to keep your bat in prime condition.

2. Whites: Whether it's the traditional whites or colorful jerseys for shorter formats, every cricketer needs at least two sets of shirts and trousers in their kitbag. The right fit and comfort boost a player's confidence, and a few shorts and t-shirts come in handy during warm-ups and practice sessions.

3. Sweater: A trusty sweater or jumper is essential for retaining body heat in chilly conditions and aiding gradual cooling down after intense activity. Opt for a long-sleeved sweater in colder regions.

4. Shoes: Batters now prefer spiked cricket shoes, offering better traction and stability. Previously, they used to bat with half-spikes and rubber studded shoes. While picking shoes, look for: 1. Cushioning 2. Length; toes should not touch the front of the shoe 3. Width; snug and firm 4. Arch support 5. Counter; set straight and firm on the heel 6. Heel; wider at the base 7. Flexible; bend easily at the ball of the feet 8. Comfort; feel good, a bit snugger than street shoes. Also, a pair of warm up shoes should be a part of your kit.

5. Socks: Fast bowlers swear by wearing two pairs of socks, but whatever your preference, always keep a spare, fresh pair in your bag. Ensure your socks fit comfortably at the toes and avoid folds under the soles to prevent discomfort on the field.

6. Leg-Guards: Invest in a well-padded pair of leg-guards that protect your knees and offer extra protection for your shin bones. Remember, lighter is better.

7. Gloves: Your gloves should protect your fingers with extra padding on the fore and middle fingers while providing the flexibility you need to perform at your best.

8. Thigh Pads: Modern cricket demands dual pads that protect the inner thigh of the backfoot too. Make sure they are comfortable and don't restrict your footwork.

9. Helmet: Helmets with visors or grills are life-savers and have even inspired innovative shots at the highest levels of the game. Choose a lightweight, comfortable, yet sturdy helmet that protects your head and face.

10. Abdominal guard or ‘box’: Worn with jock-straps (see below), these protect the pelvic region. Abdominal guards should be comfortable and should be firmly in place, while batting or fielding close-in.

11. Jock-straps: Also called supporters or ‘bikes’, these are underwear that support the private parts and protect them from injury. Jock-straps are a must and the use of ordinary briefs and swimming trunks instead could result in long-term injury. Women cricketers should wear sports bras.

12. Cap: Shield yourself from the scorching sun with a stylish cap or panama hat during those long-format matches.

13. Opt for the Optional: Forearm/Elbow Guard, Chest Guard, Sun Glasses, and Hand Towels Add extra protection with forearm and chest guards, while sunglasses and hand towels keep you comfortable and ready to shine.

Beyond the Basics: Stock Up Your Kitbag

1. Personal First-Aid Box: Preparedness is Key - While teams often have doctors and physios, it's wise to carry a small personal first-aid box with pain-killers, ointments, sprays, band-aids, and more. Stay prepared for emergencies. 2. Sun-Screen: Safeguard Against Sunburn - Zinc oxide sun-screen offers better protection from the scorching sun, so your skin stays safe during long matches. 3. Stay Energized: Water, Energy Drinks, and Snacks - Keep yourself hydrated with water or energy drinks and have a few energy bars in your kitbag for quick bites during the game. 4. Freshness Matters: Chewing Gum and Cough Drops - Maintain freshness and focus with some chewing gum and keep a few cough-drops on hand. 5. Smell Nice, Play Nice: Deodorant Spray - Keep your teammates and friends from shunning you with a refreshing deodorant spray.

As you learn the art of packing your cricket bag, remember to do it the night before a match. This not only ensures you don't forget anything important but also sets the stage for a mentally prepared and confident performance the next day.

Best of luck!

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